Escape Lifestyle

Travel Guide to the Cinque Terre, Italy

Visit the famous five villages of the Cinque Terre in Italy, a must-visit on an travel lover’s list.

Italy tops the list of favourite travel destinations for so many people and it is so easy to see why – form the fashion, food, culture, lakes, Riviera and the diverse cities from Venice to Milan and the capital Rome, there is something that suits everyone. 

One of the most spectacular places we have visited on our travels in Italy is the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a collection of five World Heritage Listed villages on a dramatic, rugged stretch of the Italian Riviera.

The Five Villages

The five villages, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola are perched high on dramatic cliffs looking out to sea and are awash in pastel shades.

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Monterosso is the only one of the five villages that has much of a beach area which makes it popular with families and sunseekers, however our favourite village to stay in is Vernazza, for its quaintness and exquisite scenery.

Monterosso al Mare, Photo by Marija Rusaka 

The Food of the Cinque Terre

The food of the region is magnificent, handmade ravioli with prawns, fresh anchovies and trofie pasta, the Ligurian speciality pesto topped on fresh pizza and a glass of sweet late harvest sciacchetra are some of the highlights. 

Make sure you also try the local anchovies (which the area is famed for) and the plump juicy lemons which are in abundance all over the region.

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Travelling around the 5 villages

Reaching the five villages (and travelling between them) is easiest by train with direct services from Pisa, Genoa and Rome. Largely not accessible by car (cars are not allowed in to the town centres) taking the train that winds through each of the villages is the most simple way to get around.

Another great way to experience the Cinque Terre is to walk between the five villages – which for centuries was the only way of getting around – and take in some of the most exquisite sea views. The paths can be hilly so come prepared.

Photo by Rachel Claire 

To do the area justice, we would recommend at least 3-4 days to explore, it is possible to visit just on a day trip however the real beauty of the Cinque Terre is slowing down and enjoying the good life for a few days without rushing.

Accommodation can be hit and miss and can also be very expensive at peak times so we recommend first choosing the village you want to be based at and then doing your research – it is possible to find some quaint family-run accommodation that won’t break the bank and will give you a taste of the authentic Italian life. If you like castles, crashing waves and a deck overlooking the aqua blue sea try Gianni Franzi in Vernazza.

Many of the villages will require alot of walking up and down steep stairs so be prepared to get a good workout and don’t forget to pack some suitable footwear.

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When To Visit the Cinque Terre

Our top tip is to go out of season when the weather is still warm but the crowds have died down. May/early June and late September/October are both beautiful times of year when you can still swim but the crowds have dispersed. If you like the cooler weather for hiking try April and November.

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Make sure you add the Cinque Terre to your next Italian itinerary, it truly is a magical part of the world.

Want more Italy?  Click here for one of our favourite villages in Lake Como, here for the cosmopolitan city of Milan and here for the romance of Venice.

8 comments on “Travel Guide to the Cinque Terre, Italy

  1. We were there last year and have plans for next summer. Stayed right outside of the Cinque Terre and that worked out great. You can really get everywhere by train – just watch how often they leave if you’re out late at night. We had to wait an hour after 8pm.

    • eatliveescape

      Great tip, thanks! We never travelled in the evening by train

  2. Beautiful, all my favorite colors

  3. Beautiful photos. Thanks! I love the way Italian villages age with such dignity. When the construction is so high quality, you don’t have to worry as much about cosmetic perfection. It just stands in beauty.

  4. This was one of the most memorable vacations I’ve ever taken. Walking between the villages did offer breathtaking views, although I strongly recommend being prepared with sturdy walking shoes and even sticks. The day after our hike, we sailed the coast for a seaview of Cinque Terre’s splendor. Would highly recommend this journey to anyone who loves the outdoors.

    • eatliveescape

      Great tips. Would love to sail the coastline- it would be spectacular to see it from the sea!

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